Hawks finish off Shaw

Published 4:22 pm Wednesday, April 14, 2010

MURFREESBORO – A 31-hit attack in which they scored 27 runs in two games allowed Chowan University’s baseball team to complete a double-header sweep of Shaw University here at Hawkins Field Friday afternoon.

Not a bad way for the Hawks’ seven seniors to say good-bye.

Each senior contributed to the success of the day: Right-handed reliever Spencer Fagan went two strong innings in the 13-3 first-game win while the other senior hurler, Robert Weaver, got his third win of the year in the 14-2 nightcap.

At the dish, Zac Caito finished his career with a homerun and six runs driven in, Nate Mitchell clouted his 11th homerun of the year in driving in five. John Kellett had five hits in the two games while Mike Taylor and Nate Stanton had four hits apiece.

All five also scored three runs each.

“I guess it was a ‘congratulations, you made it this far-type deal’,” said the smiling Stanton after being drenched with the water cooler by his teammates. “It was good to get the two wins and all the seniors seemed to do pretty well.”

“We’re real pleased with the way we’ve been playing,” said Coach Aaron Carroll. “Our hitters are clicking all at the same time, we’ve got no problem scoring runs, and our pitching has been outstanding the last few weeks.”

Not counting single losses to Virginia State and St. Augustine’s during the two-week stint, Chowan has put up 143 runs and has a team earned-run-average under five per game.

“We’ve really just been doing a good job of throwing strikes,” said Fagan. “We struggled with that early in the season when we walked batters, we hit people, and we’ve minimized that and it’s really helped out.”

In the nightcap, Weaver overcame a rocky start as he committed a first inning error, then surrendered a double for his only hit of the game.

Despite the next batter getting a sacrifice fly for Shaw’s first run of the game and the only time Chowan trailed in the series, Weaver retired 14 batters in a row; twirling a brilliant one-hitter for five innings of work, striking out three.

Chowan got two runs in each of the first two innings to lead, 4-1, before they erupted for four in the third. With two men aboard, Caito crushed a fastball over the wall in right field for a trio of runs and the first of three Hawks’ homers on the afternoon. Later, with two out and two on, Kellett delivered another run.

Justin Bagbey homered on the first pitch he saw to open the fourth inning and later Adam Capps collected an RBI on a fielder’s choice.

Ahead 10-1 in the fifth, Nate Mitchell got a three-run dinger and, despite Shaw getting a run in the top of the sixth, Chowan added their 14th in the bottom of the frame on a fielder’s choice for the final.

“We think we’re one of the hottest teams going into the tournament,” said Caito, as Sunday’s double-header sweep at Elizabeth City State gave the Hawks a seven-game win streak – their longest of the season.

“We’ve been playing mentally tough lately,” added Stanton. “The two games we lost during this stretch is when we kind of lost focus and didn’t come through when we needed to, but if we’re mentally tough I think we’ll win the thing.”

Chowan (22-15-1, 15-5, CIAA) opens play in the CIAA Baseball Tournament Thursday in Petersburg, Virginia as the second seed against third-seed, Virginia State. Top-seed, St. Augustine’s will face Elizabeth City State in the other first-round contest.